While playing a game, eating chocolate, or exercising, your body releases endogenous morphine, commonly known as endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters, or chemicals that pass along signals from one neuron to the next. If these endorphins are released when someone is engaged in a learning activity, the learner will not only have more fun, but they actually retain more information This is key to maximizing the potential of endorphins in eLearning through gamification.
Today, eLearning developers are taking advantage of this science by adding games to their online training courses to promote motivation and success. The hope is that this success can translate from the eLearning environment to on-the-job experiences later on. Gamification in eLearning has become increasingly popular since it offers a wide range of advantages for learners and can help to make the overall experience not only enjoyable, but effective too. Many new and established companies are taking advantage of the opportunity to move into this expanding market.
Gamification involves the use of game theory, game design, and game mechanics to improve the experience of non-game situations. It imparts an effective informal learning environment that helps learners practice real-life situations and challenges in a safe environment.
In the context of eLearning, the mere inclusion of a standalone game in a learning module does not count as gamification. It has more to do with how the entire learning process is structured so that absorption of concepts happens as a natural result of playing an interesting game. Gamification simply makes learning and retaining information easier.
The typical elements of game play such as competing with others, scoring points, leveling up, and working under predefined rules are applied to the eLearning unit.
When integrated cleverly and accurately, gamification can make an eLearning course a highly effective and fun way to learn. Here are a few important elements to consider when gamifying your courses:
Specify learning goals
This is a fundamental aspect to keep in mind when you develop game-based eLearning courses. You need to remember that games which do not help realize the learning objectives serve no purpose, while also reducing the efficacy of online courses.
Add a competitive element
Along with fun, an element of competition must also be included to make the game more interesting. In gamified training or eLearning sessions, learners want to do the best they can and win. The competitive nature of the unit will also likely encourage learners to actively seek out and participate in more training schemes.
Build team spirit
Mix up the competitive elements of the learning platform to maintain interest. In a corporate training scenario, there could be competitions between employees, but it must also endeavor to build a sense of team spirit and a fight against certain external challenges, as well. Human beings like to feel that they are cooperating and progressing towards a common goal.
Leveling up to a new stage can denote the mastering of a certain concept and progressing to an increasingly difficult or challenging new level. Visible indicators of accomplishment such as this can increase motivation and engagement.
Interactive means engagement
Users won’t learn if they are not engaged. The delivery of information through gaming rewards both the intrinsic and extrinsic needs of users and keeps them coming back. You need to make sure that your eLearning course provides good instruction and entertains at the same time. It is very essential that the game has all elements that help your learners “stay on track” and facilitate acquisition of the required skills.
You can develop a game-based course with high efficacy by presenting an appropriate challenge to your learner. Challenge is maintained as a checkpoint activity where learners can test their knowledge and they can pass only if they have score above average. If the game is too simple for an expert in the field or too complex for new learners, the objective of the course cannot be achieved. Learners may lose interest in the game and opt to quit. Therefore, it is very important to consider the abilities of your personnel or target audience when you design a learning game.
Feedback is key
Feedback is provided in classroom training as well as in an eLearning course. For games, it can be in the form of scores, points, badges obtained in rounds of plays, or levels achieved. Feedback should be provided at the right time, thus informing the learners what’s right and why it is so. This way feedback will help the learner reinforce his learning.
When integrated correctly, gamification can make an eLearning course much more engaging and effective. Further, adding actionable items to your eLearning platforms will encourage competition and reward positive behavioral traits. You’ll notice a much happier, more content, and better educated workforce.
Gamification is cost effective and less time consuming compared to the production of a standalone game. Therefore, gamification in eLearning is a highly recommended approach for retention of knowledge. If you’re looking for a way to transform your eLearning course into a dynamic and rich learning experience, then gamification may be the ideal solution.